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Not gonna lie, watching movies is one of my all-time favorite things to do. It’s such a great way to escape and laugh, or cry, or be scared out of my mind. And family movie nights are a super special time to chill out and hang with the fam. My son’s still a bit too young for it, but as my daughter gets older, I’m having a blast showing her some of my favorite movies. From introducing my girl to classics like Chaplin’s City Lights to watching one her current faves, like Pocahontas, watching fun flicks together is a great way to spend a Saturday night.
But having a family movie night is about more than just sitting there, zoning out in front of the TV. It can be a way to bring people together and create cool new memories. That’s why I have a trusty list of fun ways to make movie night special, because nothing kicks it up a notch like really getting into it — from costumes to themed meals and a whole lot more. Check it out and see if there might be a special activity to throw in the mix at your next family movie night.
1. Don’t just “watch” a movie. My daughter came up with the idea to get up and dance during movie night when we watched Step Up 2 (my fave!). Similarly, practice your swing if you’re watching a baseball movie, or turn the remote into a mic if any character breaks out into song.
2. Play dress up. Everything is more fun when you’ve got a costume on, am I right? My daughter wore her Dorothy costume when we watched The Wizard of OZ, and I dug up a long black dress (does the green tea face mask I put on count too?).
3. Create a themed meal. Does anyone in your family love to cook? Why not make banana splits if you’re watching The Jungle Book or get the kids to help chop up veggies for a homemade vegetable stew in honor of Ratatouille? The sky’s the limit on coming up with recipes, and cooking with the kids can be a blast.
4. Get creative with the seating. Have any cardboard boxes lying around? Kids can be ridiculously creative when it comes to cardboard boxes, and with a few snips, some marker and tape, you can turn a basic box into a spaceship, a car, a castle … and then sit snuggly inside while the movie plays.
5. Be popcorn scientists. As I kid, I loved experimenting with different flavors (grapes rolled in salami dipped in Sprite was my jam). For movie night, why not pop some popcorn and let each family member concoct the latest flavor sensation? It’s a great way to let creativity and imagination take hold as you sprinkle in anything from M&Ms and mini marshmallows, to pickle juice and paprika. Hey, the sky’s the limit — or, at least, your pantry is!
6. Have a friendly competition. Whether you’re watching Cinderella or Indiana Jones, pick a few actions or catch phrases from the movie and base a game on them. First one to call out when Cinderella gets a new chore is allowed to create a rule for the other family members — 10 jumping jacks, for instance! (Okay, truth be told, I got this idea from college drinking games, but it’s just as fun to come up with a PG version.)
7. Make a home cinema. Print out tickets and offer assigned seats for the night’s film. Then load dollar store baskets or bento lunchboxes with candy, drinks, and popcorn. If home movie night is something you do often, splurging on a movie projector screen could be a seriously awesome investment, too (we have one, and love it!).